During his just short of seven hour appearance in front of the House Intelligence Committee, Carter Page admitted that he did tell Jefferson Sessions about his upcoming trip to Russia. But Page spent much of the day attacking the Steele dossier rather than talking about his own actions.
And when it came to documents, Page had a frustrating response.
Carter Page has invoked the 5th, on his own without a lawyer, regarding document production, says House Intel member Speier. Which documents? "Any documents," she tells me.
— Billy House (@HouseInSession) November 2, 2017
The refusal to hand over any document did not endear page to the members of the House committee who spent a good piece of time trying to explain why “Nothing” was not an offer the committee was willing to accept.
Lawmakers said after the session that Page did not hand over documents they subpoenaed, though it was not clear what material they requested. It was not immediately apparent what steps they would take to obtain the documents. The Senate intelligence panel has also issued him a subpoena.
It sounds as if the Senate is in for a dose of the same frustration that the House experienced on Thursday as Page rambles on, refusing to directly answer questions or to provide any support for his statements. For his own part, Page thinks he hit a home run in the House chambers.
“Now that the truth is getting out there and the domestic propaganda which related to this has been resolved, the truth is now in the process of becoming known, and brighter days are ahead,” Page said.
That’s the 30-second version. Imagine sitting through seven hours.
Back in March, Page admitted that he had asked the campaign for permission before making his trip to Moscow—which takes some of the value away from even Thursday’s admission that he might have dropped that news in front of Jefferson Sessions. As the head of the national security team, Sessions would have been the obvious person to approve Page’s trip, which seems more substantive than what Page is now admitting .
Page also downplayed the value of George Papadopoulos and denied that they had any connection.
Asked about his relationship with Papadopoulos, Page said, “I had nothing to do with any of that.”
However, Page would have been on the team that received many of the emails about Papadopoulos’s efforts to arrange a meeting with Moscow. It was after Papadopoulos made multiple efforts to arrange a meeting that Paul Manafort made a statement that anyone traveling to Moscow from the Trump campaign should be “low level” to reduce attention to the trip. That was just over a month before Page made his July 7 trip to Moscow were he spoke to the New Economic School about US foreign policy.
Though Page claims he made that trip on his own, his slide deck for the presentation included identifying himself as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Whether Page met with anyone else while in Moscow remains unclear.